The Secretary of Defense (Forrestal) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: The National Military Establishment heartily endorses the measures being taken by the Department of State to assist the Government of Venezuela and the operating oil companies in providing for the security of the oil fields of that country against anticipated sabotage efforts.

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It is recommended, therefore, that during the course of its conversations with the Government of Venezuela concerning internal measures of security, the Department of State explore the possibility of securing a further understanding with Venezuela,1 either on a bilateral basis or on a multilateral basis possibly in accord with the principles of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance.2

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The Military Establishment is prepared to furnish any assistance that the Department of State may request for the prosecution of the foregoing negotiations.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Under Secretary Lovett informed Secretary Forrestal in his letter of June 7, not printed, that he had received observations from Ambassador Donnelly regarding the suggestion made in his letter of April 24 as follows:

    “Ambassador Donnelly expresses the opinion that it is virtually certain the Venezuelan Government would, at this time, reject any such suggestion since the Venezuelan leaders would consider such an arrangement an invasion of their sovereignty. He therefore recommends against making an approach at this time. The Department considers his reasoning sound and believes his views should be accepted, subject to further developments.” (831.6363/5–2148)

  2. Department of State Treaties and other International Acts Series 1838, or 21 UNTS 77